Vietnam’s largest bear farming hotspot signs up to petition calling for an end to the industry

February 18, 2019 – Further evidence that public opinion in Vietnam is shifting squarely behind ending bear farming has been underlined by an ENV petition that collected over 5,000 signatures in the bear farming hotspot of Phuc Tho.




Calling for action to get Phuc Tho’s bear farmers to surrender their nearly 170 bears and give the bears a better life at a rescue center, the petition was presented to the chairman of the district’s People’s Committee (PC). The elimination of bear farming in Phuc Tho, Vietnam’s largest bear farming area, would provide massive leverage to rid the remaining provinces of bear farms.


Ms. Nguyen Thi Phuong Dung, ENV’s Vice Director said: “Support for the petition in Phuc Tho demonstrates that there is strong support locally to end bear farming in the district. However, bringing the end of bear farming into sight relies on the collective will of the Phuc Tho authorities in ensuring bear farms are regularly monitored, owners closely managed, and all violations strictly addressed.”


Phuc Tho is a keystone of the bear farming industry in Vietnam and as such has been the target of ENV campaigning since 2008. Over the last decade, Phuc Tho has therefore been one of the main focuses of ENV’s bear program, with messaging targeting residents at markets, community events, and via public address system announcements and our schools’ bear program geared towards influencing the younger generation and the adults in their orbit. Much energy has also been expended in forging relationships with bear owners and the district’s authorities.


“More than ever, we need to make bear owners buy into the reality that bear bile farming in Vietnam is on its last legs, and that their bile business is an expensive and illegal exercise that is now rejected by society,” Ms. Dung added.


At present there are 25 bear farm-free provinces, and momentum is building to expedite an end to bear farming in Vietnam through the collective efforts of the public, bear owners, the NGO community and the Vietnamese government.


Progress in ending bear farming was significant in 2018, with 19 bear transfers to rescue centers and the number of farm bears slumping to fewer than 800 bears, down from the more than 4,300 bears documented at hundreds of farms throughout the country in 2005. Efforts to eradicate bear farming will continue throughout 2019. Our ‘Better Life for Bears’ schools’ letter writing challenge, for example, is underway, with school students the length of Vietnam penning letters to bear owners urging them to quit and surrender their bears. Over 1000 entries have already been received, with the total expected to run into the thousands when the challenge closes on March 15.


Ms. Dung, meanwhile, also urged the public to “stand up and get involved” by committing not to use bear bile, encouraging others to protect bears, and taking action, such as educating others and reporting bear crimes to ENV’s Wildlife Crime Hotline 1800-1522.


ENV wishes to thank World Animal Protection for supporting this initiative under a broader campaign to expedite an end to bear farming in Vietnam.